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to democrats who control the senate and white house to avert the "fiscal cliff." >> republicans aren't about to write a blank check for anything senate democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff. >> reporter: house members will return to capitol hill on sunday and could begin voting that night. they would have about 24 hours to approve a deal. adding to the urgency, treasury secretary timothy geithner warned congress that the nation's debt limit will be reached by december 31st and extraordinary measures would have to be taken to avoid default on the government's loans. danielle nottingham, cbs 5, washington. >>> just hours ago hawaii's lieutenant governor became the country's newest senator. >> congratulations. >> thank you. >> 40-year-old brian schatz takes the place of long-time senator daniel inouye. inouye died just last week. schatz traveled from hawaii to washington aboard air force one with president obama last night. >>> former president george h.w. bush remains in intensive care tonight. a family spokesman says the 88- year-old is alert, in guarde
at the last minute. >> last-minute talks on the "fiscal cliff." tonight, we're going into the long holiday weekend still no deal. but there is a bit of confidence that the senate will reach a last-minute agreement. with three days to go there were talks today, then the president addressed the nation. thigh presidentgrace lee reports. >> reporter: the plan b would be this. if there is no deal, then the president says he still expects the senate to take action. he says at the very at least he expects to keep unemployment benefits to the jobless and to maintain the bush-era middle class tax cuts but at this point can we avoid the "fiscal cliff"? it is still possible but experts say with every passing hour it becomes more difficult. >> well, we're now at the last minute. the american people are not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound to our economy. not right now. >> reporter: congressional leaders left the white house after trying to negotiate an 11th hour deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts that begin on january 1. the president emerg
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